Hurricane Sam slowly moves northwest across Atlantic as major storm

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Sept. 30 (UPI) — Forecasters said Thursday that Hurricane Sam was continuing to move slowly northwest in the Atlantic Ocean as a strong storm, but its track is expected to take it to the north and away from the U.S. mainland.

In its 5 a.m. AST update, the National Hurricane Center said Sam was located 345 miles northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands and 825 miles south-southeast of Bermuda. It had maximum sustained winds of 145 mph. It was moving northwest at 12 mph.

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A tropical storm watch has been issued for Bermuda.

Late Monday, Sam weakened to a Category 3 storm but regained strength early Tuesday.

Sam formed as a tropical storm last week. At one point, it appeared that the storm could possibly take a track to the U.S. Southeast, but projections show it turning in a northerly direction, away from the East Coast.

The forecasters said the Category 4 hurricane is expected to continued on its northwest track while picking up speed through Thursday night before taking a turn toward the north late Friday.

“On the forecast track, the core of Sam will continue to pass well to the northeast of the northern Leeward Islands this morning, and pass to the east of Bermuda early Saturday,” the NHC said.

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The NHC projects that Sam could, however, impact Bermuda late this week.

Sam is the 18th named storm and the seventh hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. A year ago, the “s” named storm, Sally, formed on Sept. 12.